Question from an Auto Enthusiast: “My ’52 Chevy AD has what is likely the common “3 cracks” all the way around each spoke of the wheel, next to the hub around the horn button. Is this fixable? I’d like to keep as much of the original as possible.” ~ MikeAnswer: “Certainly, Mike, you can do just about anything with Protective Coating Company’s line of epoxies! Here’s how:
If you’ve made the important decision NOT to live with the cracked steering wheel – entering the time-consuming task of locating a used steering wheel or purchasing a pricey reproduction or aftermarket steering wheel – you can easily repair your existing steering wheel with the right epoxy.
Repairing a cracked hard plastic steering wheel is a lot easier than you might think! And many stores offer epoxy kits to help you do the job.
How to do it
1. Remove the steering wheel, clean it with dishwashing detergent and water, and dry. Then gently clean with denatured alcohol to remove any oils or buildup on the plastic.
2. Depending on the size of the cracks, you are going to need to open them up a bit (preferably down to the metal). Make the cracks bigger you say??? Think about what a dentist does. When you cut a V groove, you are deepening the adhesiveness between the old material and the new material. By making such a cut, you increase surface area between the epoxy and what needs to be repaired.
3. Make an upside down V groove, with the deepest part of the grove being wider than the top of the groove. Now, even if the two materials eventually delaminate, the patch material can’t fall out. Some folks use a sharp blade to make their cuts, but if you want a fine patch, use a fine blade on a dremel.
4. Choose your epoxy. Most folks prefer our favorite go-to epoxy, PC – 7 paste.
5. Mix your epoxy as directed on the packaging, and fill the v-shaped cracks with PC 7. Make sure to observe appropriate cure times under the right temperature conditions.
6. After drying, a blade can be used to ‘shave’ the epoxy until it is level. Then use a 220 grit paper followed by a 400 grit water sanding.
7. Apply a nice coat of primer-filler followed by a few coats of lacquer in the color of your choice. Voila!
One last tip
If you have a chip at or near the horn button, some folks have had success with applying a large drop of epoxy on the chip, and once it set enough to stick they flipped the wheel over so the drop was hanging. Again, let it harden, sand it, paint it. You need a magnifying glass to tell where that patch is.
Keep in mind
The cracks may eventually come back over a period of time. Remember, the integrity of the original ‘molded’ steering wheel has been irreversibly affected. But if the cracks do come back, they will show up as hairline cracks.
Good luck with your DIY automobile repairs! They can be some of the most personally satisfying pastimes out there, and PC epoxies can make the job easier, and longer lasting.